Monday, June 26, 2017

Summer is here!

Haven't blogged a lot, lately.  I discovered that too many ideas for my blog posts, and too many of my actual posts, were political.  That's not what I want this blog to be... so I took a break.

BUT!  Summer is here... a time for new beginnings .. a time to start over.

How do I know summer is here?  Well, I suppose I could check with the local group of druids  (except that they died off, years ago)..  or I could take a peek at Stonehenge  (no.. wouldn't have to go to England for that, there are two dozen stonehenges in the US).. or I could check any one of a large number of sources, which would indicate that summer began last week.  But I prefer a more naturalistic approach.

Last week, I came home, pulled into my usual spot alongside the driveway, and shut off the engine. Suddenly, a bunny hopped out from the shrubs and ran in front of my car, and into the woods.  A bunny!  Some years we see bunnies, some years we do not.. but this was the first bunny of the year. I'd post a picture except -- come on, bunnies are fast!  So you'll have to take my word for it... but you know what a bunny looks like.

The very next morning, as I stood at the bathroom sink brushing my teeth, I looked out the window and saw a small deer eating grass.  A deer!  I raced downstairs to get to my phone and a door without a screen.. and snapped some photos... including a picture of the deer eating the lower branches of my cherry tree.  Sigh.  Yes, I had seen the damage to the branches and leaves.. and now I knew the cause for certain.  The deer spent quite some time browsing the backyard greenery.  And I spent quite some time watching the deer.

Watching the deer made me a bit late.. but a block from the house I had to let a wild turkey and about half a dozen turkey chicks cross the road!  I would have taken the time to snap a picture, but I was running late.  As I drove by... I realized that the turkey and chicks were crossing the road -- not just to get to the other side, but to join another wild turkey, with perhaps a dozen chicks!  Truly, there was a yard full of little baby turkey chicks!  Sadly, I did not get a picture.  I realize you might not know what turkey chicks look like.. they're similar to chicken chicks.. but different.  So I've hunted high and low  (well, not really, I just typed a few search terms)  to find the following pic .. which is pretty close to what I saw.. if you double this.

So -- If signs from Mother Nature come in 3s... there you have it.  Three animal sightings in less than 24 hours.
What did I tell you?  Summer is here!

And so am I.  Happy to be back in my blog
Just in case you wondered... I always drink tea, whether I'm blogging or not.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Patriot(s) and apostrophes

I live in Massachusetts... which means that today - the third Monday in April - is Patriot's Day.

Or - wait...  is it Patriots Day, Patriot's Day, or Patriots' Day?

Those of you who know me, know that a misplaced apostrophe is one of my biggest pet peeves.  I was recently on a website where one of the tabs was labeled Birthday's...  and if I could, I would have hacked into their website and removed the offensive and inappropriate apostrophe.  So as this quasi-holiday approached, I found myself wondering what the correct name was.  Yes, I've lived in Massachusetts for many years, but I rarely write the name of the day.. and when you say the day out loud, it doesn't really matter where the apostrophe is.  But now that the question had occurred to me, I really wanted needed to know if there was an apostrophe, and if so, where it belonged.

So of course I took to my friends Google and Wikipedia.  I found some really interesting information, and discovered the cause of my confusion.

As I already knew, Patriots' Day celebrates the Battles of Lexington and Concord... which were the first battles of the revolutionary war. There's a re-enactment of the battle every year (actually two.. one in Lexington, and one in Concord), and it includes the ride of Paul Revere.  And I also knew that the holiday is technically on April 19th.. but like so many other holidays, it was shifted to a Monday  (another one of my peeves, although a minor one). And of course I know that the Boston Marathon is run on Patriots' Day.  And I knew that the Boston Marathon had been run on that day, for over a hundred years.

But that still left the question of the apostrophe.

Here's the answer ---

Patriot Day is the anniversary of 9/11/2001

Patriots Day is the name of the movie about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing

Patriot's Day is the name of the Maine holiday celebrating the Lexington Concord battles, and is also the name of the holiday in Tennessee.

Patriots' Day is the name of the holiday celebrating the battles, in Massachusetts and Wisconsin.

The Florida state legislature has recognized Patriots' Day (April 19) as "one of great historical significance" and encourages people to 'commemorate' the day, although it's not an official holiday.

And not to leave out my Canadian friends (even the coffee-drinking ones!), Canada celebrates National Patriots' Day on the Monday preceding May 25.

What does all of this mean?  Well among other things, it means that this is one situation where I'm going to give you a pass, whether you leave off the S, use the S but no apostrophe, or use the apostrophe in one of two different places.

Yes, this is a great day of celebration.... because it's not often that I give people a pass on apostrophes.
And -- like any celebration -- it deserves a good cup of tea.  So I'm off to enjoy my typhoo tea, and I hope you enjoy this day as well.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Quit apologizing

There's a lot in the news lately about the 'right' way to say you're sorry, including a recent article in the New York Times.  The reports talk about making the apology without disclaimers or conditions, and keeping in mind that the purpose of the apology is to make the other person feel better.. except that you have to be careful you don't mention that you want them to forgive you....

But there's a problem with these reports.

You see, the reports use apologizing and saying you're sorry, interchangeably.  But apologizing is quite different from saying you're sorry.  Really, it is.  I looked it up. To apologize is to admit failings or fault... it's an admission of wrongdoing.  'I'm sorry'  expresses regret... but it's regret about the situation.. not a personal admission of fault.

And while maybe it's always okay to say "I'm sorry", there are many instances when "I apologize" is wrong.

A few months ago, I found myself saying --

Quit Apologizing.  You're Just Making Me Angry.

Yes, I truly did use those words.  No, I wasn't shouting... but I was being quite firm.  (which is why I've capitalized each word.)

To be honest, even I was surprised to hear myself say "Quit apologizing, you're just making me angry". But that gives you an idea of how angry I was.

Let me give you some background, and I think perhaps you'll understand.

I was on the phone with Bank of America.  (and already, I see many of you nodding your heads in understanding.)  I was following up on a phone call I'd made two days earlier.  The purpose of that earlier phone call had been to find out why Bank of America had not produced the paperwork they were supposed to have sent, two months earlier.  Well, actually, two and a half months earlier, but who's counting.  And that earlier phone call concluded with the promise that the paperwork would be faxed to me right away.

Except that, two days later, it wasn't. So I was on the phone again.

Now, I understand that B of A has some 'image' issues.  And I can see that they might instruct their employees in the customer service department to be ultra-nice and ultra-cheerful and ultra-friendly. And apparently customer service translated all those ultras into a directive to apologize to the customer.  And I understand that customer service person #2 .. and even customer service person #1... was not responsible for B of A's failure to do what they should have done, two months earlier.  And #2 was not responsible for the fact that the remedy that #1 had promised... hadn't happened.  It's even quite possible that #1 was not responsible for the fact that the promised remedy hadn't happened. But it was absolutely clear that neither person #1 nor person #2 was admitting that they'd done anything wrong.

In all fairness to me, I didn't snap at customer service person #1.. and I didn't snap at customer service person #2 the first three times she said I apologize.  But apparently, for this camel, the fourth time is the final straw. As you might imagine, customer service person #2 intially was a little taken aback at my outburst. But habits are habits, so a few moments later, once again she said "I apologize".

Sigh.  So I let that one go.  And the next time she said it, I let that one go, as well.  The phone conversation was nearly over, and it was apparent that I wasn't going to change customer service person #2.  And, for what it's worth, the action that should have occurred more than two months before the phone call, did indeed finally happen.

Apologies are okay.  Saying you're sorry is okay.  But use the one you mean, and mean the one you use.

The recent New York Times article said, "An apology actually affects the bodily funtions of the person receiving it - blood pressure decreases, heart rate slows and breathing becomes steadier."


Frankly, I'm better off having a cup of tea.